University of Missouri - Saint Louis

The Graduate School

Announcement

An oral examination in defense of the dissertation for the degree

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Shannon McNeill
M.A. in Clinical Psychology, May, 2010, University of Missouri-St. Louis
B.S. in Psychology, May, 2006, Suffolk University


Coping Styles among Individuals with Severe Mental Illness and Comorbid PTSD

 

Abstract

There is little known about the mechanisms by which persons with SMI cope with their stress, and virtually no research is available on the influence of comorbid PTSD (SMI-PTSD) on coping within the SMI population. The current study examined coping strategies utilized by individuals with SMI versus those with SMI-PTSD, while also investigating the role of PTSD symptom severity, overall psychological distress, and substance use on coping strategy usage. Participants included adults (N = 90) recruited through a metropolitan community mental health clinic, all describing current symptoms of an SMI, 48 of whom met criteria for SMI-PTSD. Results of this study revealed high rates of trauma exposure, with 83% of the total sample endorsing at least one traumatic event. Mean scores for posttraumatic symptom severity, psychological distress and substance abuse all fell within the ranges of clinical severity. Avoidance coping was used to a greater extent by the SMI-PTSD group as compared to the SMI group with no comorbid PTSD. PTSD symptom severity was a significant predictor of psychological distress experienced by trauma exposed participants. Additionally, for those exposed to trauma, avoidance coping partially mediated the relationship between their PTSD symptom severity and psychological distress. Substance use did not prove to be an influential variable in describing or predicting coping strategy use. These findings highlight the role of avoidance coping in the relationship between PTSD symptom severity and overall psychological distress within an SMI sample. Implications for treatment are considered.


 

Date: Friday, August 30, 2013

Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm

Place: Stadler Hall, Psychology Dept. conference room

 

Defense of Dissertation Committee

 

Tara Galovski, Ph.D. (Advisor, Committee Chairperson)

Ann Steffen, Ph.D.

 

Matthew Taylor, Ph.D.

Gary Morse, Ph.D.